Yesterday afternoon was a signature game for both teams. It was one of those holy shit this team is going to win the goddamn World Series ones for the Jays who rallied back from multiple deficits and eventually scored the winning run on an inside-the-park home run. For the Twins, though, it was a holy shit this team is so bad this is literally just another day at the ballpark, as they blew multiple leads and let the Jays win on a bloop single that turned into a homer.
It sounds horrific and borderline vomit inducing for supporters of the Twins, but for the Jays, it was a very, very nice moment for a team who has been incredibly frustrating recently. And with the rally, the Jays have an opportunity to sweep an opponent for the first time since all the way back before the all-star break when they took down the Royals at home.
When you look at Marcus Stroman’s line from yesterday, you’d think he just had one of his mediocre games that we’ve become accustomed to this year. But actually, he wasn’t even close to as bad as five earned runs on nine hits over six innings would suggest. The Twins got a month’s worth of batted ball luck in one game yesterday, as more than half of their hits were soft-to-medium hit balls through holes on the infield. With a little more luck, Stroman easily could have escaped this game with much better results, but instead, he was tagged for his worst start — well, worst results — in weeks.
He left the game after the top of the sixth inning with the Jays down 5-1. They grabbed two back in the bottom of the inning on an Edwin Encarnacion homer, but Bo Schultz let them go immediately after by allowing a two-out, two-run homer to Trevor Plouffe in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Jays rallied with a handful of phenomenal at bats that really exemplified the veteran skill of this lineup. With two outs and two runners on, Jose Bautista walked on four pitches to load the bases before Josh Donaldson then a low fastball into right field for a single that scored two runs. Then Edwin Encarnacion fouled off five pitches, all low and inside, before finally, on the 11th pitch of the at bat, sent a knee high slider through the hole between third and short.
That three-run inning brought the Jays to within one run heading into the eighth. With one out, Kevin Pillar hit a double before Melvin Upton had his signature moment as a Blue Jay. Upton smacked a slider on the inside corner into right field for what should have been a bloop single, but it got past the diving Max Kepler, and Upton turned on the jets and rounded the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
We can officially say it now — Melvin Upton Jr. is a Blue Jay.
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 27, 2016
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 28, 2016
R.A. Dickey: 9-13, 4.43 ERA, 5.23 FIP, 1.341 WHIP, 8.7 H9, 3.4 BB9, 6.5 SO9
— Dhiren Mahiban (@dcmahiban) August 28, 2016
Kyle Gibson: 5-8, 5.09 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 1.538 WHIP, 10.5 H9, 3.3 BB9, 6.4 SO9
R.A. Dickey will pitch for the Jays today, meaning people will probably piss and moan after he allows his first run about how the game is over and all that. Dickey, while he is unpredictable game to game, inning to inning, pitch to pitch, has been pretty decent recently. His last time out against the Angels, he only allowed a couple of runs over six-and-two-thirds, and before that, he held the Yankees to one run over five innings.
Regardless, the Jays haven’t had a very difficult time with Minnesota pitching so far this weekend as they’ve scored 21 runs over the first couple of games, and if I had to venture a guess, I would assume that trend will continue today against Kyle Gibson. He’s never faced Toronto before in his career, but boasts numbers that suggest he allows a tremendous amount of contact because he’s in the strike zone, but doesn’t really have strike out stuff. Also, looking at his splits, he has a difficult time in the first few innings, which could bode well for the Jays, who like to go to the plate with an aggressive approach at the beginning of the game.
It feels like a nice day for a sweep!